Work It and Watch Out! – Musts and Pitfalls for Graphic Designers Presenting Work
When interviewing with someone, I think its important to remember that the interviewer wants you to do well and have fun presenting your work. Walk into the presentation knowing that. We’re all friends here. Nerves are sometimes hard to control but there’s no reason to be sitting there sweating bullets.
Another graphic design portfolio must is to think about your binding method. Do not perfect bind your portfolio. Your book has to be flexible to cater to whoever you’re talking to. If you are meeting with a branding firm, it’s a good idea to put a branding piece first. Binding methods like screw posts and prong fasteners allow you to shuffle pages. We recommend screw posts because they allow pages to lay flat but still bind it all together as a book. Not binding it at all is another option. Many graphic designers have a portfolio box with loose sheets stacked inside. Best practice is to figure out how you like to present, and which binding method is the best for your style of presentation.
Look ’em in the eyes. Eye contact is great and lack of eye contact is creepy. Also, be confident but open to constructive criticism. When you’re done presenting, ask for feedback. Let them know you want to get the most out of this meeting. Typography, typography, typography. Focus on your typography skills if you really want your book to sing. That being said steer clear of mentioning what typefaces you used for a project. Instead tell them what the “big idea” behind your project is. What were you trying to communicate and how did you communicate it? Other pitfalls during a presentation are mentioning that something is “stock” photography or naming the computer programs you used. If they’re curious, whoever is talking with you will ask if you’re proficient with Adobe products (and it should be written on your resume).
Have a minibook (to send out via email) ready to go at a moment’s notice and make sure you have one for as many niches as you can think of. Design services vary from shop to shop so make a minibook that is multidisciplinary and others that focus on logos, business cards, signage, websites, marketing materials, and overall brand development. Don’t be afraid to send your information to people you don’t know. Just make sure you’re polite and value their time. Another good idea is to bring a gift – if you don’t feel like getting crazy with your self promotional pieces, business cards or a couple of printed minibooks will do the trick. Just make sure its a professional take-away of some sort.
You should also have a portfolio website if you can swing it. Cargo collective () is a good source for templates, especially for portfolios. Also check out some of your favorite shops and see how they display their work. Keep it simple and clean or create a whole environment on the web. Its up to you. Know thyself and figure out what’s best for you. Good luck out there!